Des Plaines, Ill. (July 2, 2004) -- By the end of this month, Chicago-based CPA firm Walton, Joplin, Langer & Co. will do something it hasn’t done since it was founded nearly 100 years go -- move out of the downtown area, as the firm has merged with Ahlbeck & Co.

The move is one that WJL has been looking to make for the better part of this year, as rents in downtown Chicago had made it difficult for the seven-person, two-partner firm to function the way it wanted to. But rather than just move out to the suburbs, Walton Joplin thought it best to try and explore merger opportunities. It found one in Ahlbeck, which its partners have known for many years.

“We actually approached them about our situation of wanting to get out of downtown and perhaps explore business opportunities in the process,” said Walton Joplin partner Gerard Swick. “The move will also give us a better client mix and additional services.”

Walton Joplin mainly provided tax and audit review services to manufacturing and distribution companies, with some current clients dating back to the 1930s. Recently it has been servicing nonprofit clients as well, which Swick said will work well with Ahlbeck’s expertise in that client area. Ahlbeck also has expertise in business valuations, which will be advantageous to Walton Joplin’s clients, Swick said.

“We are running into situations where some clients are getting on in years and looking to sell and merge their own businesses, and think that their background in that area will be valuable,” Swick said. “They are also more cognizant with current technology and we may be able to improve some systems along the way.”

Swick and partner Myra Swick, who served as the first woman president of the Illinois CPA Society, will become partners in Ahlbeck.

Phone calls to Ahlbeck & Co. were not returned by press time.

Founded in 1962 by Harold A. Ahlbeck, Ahlbeck & Co. has been managed by his sons, Tom and Dirk, since 1990. Under their leadership, the 21-person firm has grown to serve more than 750 business and individual clients.

-- Seth Fineberg

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